Kershaw lifts Dodgers to second straight National League West title

Source:Reuters-Global Times Published: 2014-9-26 0:38:04

Clayton Kershaw struck out 11 in eight innings and chipped in offensively with a run-­scoring triple as the Los Angeles ­Dodgers clinched the National League West title by clobbering San Francisco 9-1 on Wednesday (US time).

Kershaw, who is a candidate for the Cy Young Award, surrendered a run on eight hits and had no walks, earning his Major League Baseball best 21st victory of the season.

He also drove in a run with his first career triple and showed off some of his defensive skills for the Dodgers who captured their second consecutive division crown.

"It is awesome," said Kershaw who tied a career high for wins set in 2011. "This is the first step. We know that, but it doesn't mean we can't celebrate tonight."

Yasiel Puig sparked a four-run sixth inning with a solo homer. The Dodgers have now won seven of their last games against the Giants

"We are excited to get in and win the division," said Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. "We want to get a couple steps further and get to that World Series."

The Giants could have secured a playoff berth of their own with a win in the rubber match of a three-game series.

After losing the opener of this series, the Dodgers ­outlasted the Giants 4-2 on Tuesday. That restored their 4 1/2-game lead over San Francisco for first place in the ­division and gave Los Angeles a magic number of one to clinch heading into Wednesday's contest.

The Giants opened the scoring before Kershaw tied it 1-1 in the fifth inning with his two-out extra-base hit to the right-center field gap.

The Dodgers then took the lead with an explosive sixth. Puig led off with a solo home run blast to right field on an 0-2 pitch.

Matt Kemp chased Tim Hudson with a double. Javier Lopez surrendered a two-run double to Carl Crawford after intentionally walking Hanley Ramirez. Juan Uribe then scored Crawford with a single off Giants pitcher Jean Machi.

Uribe drove in two more during a four-run eighth inning for the Dodgers. There were four walks, including one by Puig with the bases loaded.

"It was great fun. We will be back here for round one," Kershaw said.

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